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Well, you can ask your question here. I seem to receive a lot of questions for auto repair and I am only one person so please leave me as much information as possible. Vehicle year, make, model, engine size, automatic or manual transmission, drive train type and anything else you’re aware of. I understand if you don’t have answers to all of these just leave me what you know and your question will get answered more quickly and accurately. I tend to ignore questions like: How do I flush my transmission? I would need more information here, see. Thanks in advance.
Martin Hand

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This way other people can benefit from the question’s and advice. Question’s posted here are answered in the same manner as asking me directly. Neither method is going to be quicker and I would rather you post them unless you don’t want too and that is fine also. I know longer accept direct questions. Contact us directly for appointments only. Remember – please be specific as possible otherwise questions will not be answered.
Thanks Again 🙂


  • Loni says:

    Hi Martin,

    I have a 1997 Subaru Impreza with 103,000 miles on it. It recently started to make a clattering rotation noise but only when I accelerate up an incline. It is worse when the weight inside the car is unevenly distributed – I’m driving alone, or someone is seated behind me which makes it worse. If they’re in the front seat distributing the weight evenly it’s hard to get the sound to happen. So I don’t think it’s the added weight but it’s distribution iside the car.
    I have no problems on curves or turns.
    I had a tire blow out 2,000 miles ago on a trip and replaced just that one tire until now which may have contributed to this issue. Now with the same tires on all wheels, it’s slightly less but still happening on inclines.
    My mechanic is stumped, and talking viscous coupler, but I there’s no noise on curves or turns….
    Should I be looking at something else?

    • Martin Hand says:

      Assuming this is a MT 5spd transmission? The viscous coupler is basically a limited slip differential that allows the front and rear tires to turn at different speeds while turning. It wouldn’t be making noise driving straight ahead unless it has already came apart, the snap ring that holds the clutch pack can pop out and grind in the transfer case gears. Possibly this is what your hearing, idk? Try to duplicate the noise on a car hoist so you can trace the noise with a stethoscope.

  • mark says:

    I have a 95 2.2L legacy wagon with 215k which exhibits a binding in the drive when making slow turns. Based on previous experience it looks like a bad viscous coupling. For now I can switch between 2wd and 4wd when necessary with the fuse but the annoying part is the oil leak. I believe it is from the coupling. I’m having the car inspected next week but my question for you: is there a way to stop the leak without spending alot of money replacing the defective parts? I am retiring this year and the car will be fine as a casual second vehicle.

  • Kristen Darling says:

    I have an 03 Subaru outback sedan 6 cylinder automatic 3.0 with vdc. I got a new transmission in July and it got a new motor in 2015. I’m in SW NY and we get a lot of snow and ice. I noticed last winter that with the slightest bit of anything on the road it slips side to side everywhere. I had an 03 4 cylinder before it and the difference is staggering. My question is, is it possible for the AWD to fail and only be driving like a RWD. When pulling out of my driveway the front tires don’t pull me out, rather the back ones push me onto the road. I know next to nothing about AWD so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Martin Hand says:

      Where they both automatic transmissions? Night and day difference on the traction between the automatic and standard transmission. Make sure you don’t have something obvious like a dragging brake caliper on one of the front wheels. I have never seen the AWD fail to rear wheel drive always the other way around.

  • Amanda Young says:

    Hi! My vehicle is a 2015 Honda Fit EX and I have just over 105K miles on it. I have never had my transmission fluid flushed, but was thinking about getting it done. I was told that is you do not regularly flush your transmission fluid and then do it, sometimes that can mess up the transmission. My question is, should I not flush the transmission since I have never done it and I am at 105K miles? Or, is it better to do the flush even though I haven’t done one yet?

    Thanks so much in advance!


    • Martin Hand says:

      As long as the transmission is in normal operation then it will extend the life. If your having performance issues that are noticeable to you or another technician then your better off getting it repaired or just not changing fluid. Take it to a good shop where they will actually test drive your vehicle before performing the transmission oil exchange and advise you correctly. There are minor things like TCC shudder and shudder on upshifts that can be corrected from changing bad oil.

  • Kevin Enderle says:

    I have an 04 Subaru Legacy Outback with a 5 speed manual trans. The transmission is getting very “notchy” and it is getting to where I need to start to force it to go into gear. Read your website about the transmission rebuilds and what parts normally go wrong but I don’t remember seeing this issue. What should I be looking at in terms of parts to do a repair to solve this problem? I’ll be changing the clutch which is starting to slip just recently under hard load going up hill so now is the time. Car has 211K miles on it.

    Appreciate any advice you can give.

    • Martin Hand says:

      What gears are you having to force it into? Check the clutch master and slave to make sure the clutch is fully disengaging, this is most likely the problem if it does it in all gears. Otherwise check the external shift linkage (theres a u-joint that wear out sometimes). Service the transmission gear oil also. If the transmission is making bearing noise now would be the time to split it open since your removing it for the clutch.

  • Don says:

    I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy and it has been leaking for some time. I’ve had mechanics pull the motor to replace the rear gasket, also the head gaskets and the oil pan gasket. All gaskets but it still leaks somewhere in the center bottom of the engine.Two different mechanics have no clue. It leaks about 6-12 drips a day? Any ideas to help my otherwiise wonderful car?

  • richard says:

    Hello I just rebuilt a Toyota 4 runner and a few days after it was done the check engine light came on .so I had it checked and found a knock sensor error code so I changed the knock sensor and pigtail off it and put the engine together again and same knock sensor problem again help

    • Martin Hand says:

      You need to ohm check the circuit from the ECM to the knock sensor. Makes sure the wire is not shorted to ground either, it’s a ground shield signal wire. Very unlikely but make sure wire is not shorted to power either. It’s just a single wire circuit, prestressed easy to diagnose. Also try obtaining a engine performance wiring diagram to understand the circuit.

  • David says:

    I have a 2007 subaru impreza 4 speed automatic. Sometimes while driving the at oil temp light will come on and flash constantly. Also the brake light and CEL light comes on. Codes p0700 and p1718. Transmission fluid isn’t more that 170-180 degrees. How do I read the TCM codes without paying 120$ for a dealer to plug it in?

  • Nathan says:

    I just finished reading your article “Intermittent Cylinder Misfire Subaru Valve Guide Problem”. I really appreciate the pictures and in depth explanation!

    Anyway, I’ve got a 2004 Subaru Forester XT that just threw a P0302 misfire code. It’s got 150,xxx miles on it and has always had somewhat of a lumpy idle since I got it which I was told was normal (I think not, anymore). Headgaskets were previously done, leading me to believe heads were machined and someone had eyes inside before.

    I went under the hood and checked connections as well as pulling the spark plug. Connections were good, however, the plug was a BKR5EGP, which is not the correct type for my model Forester. Shame on me for not replacing or at the very least checking them when I first got it.

    I ordered four new NGK 6481 OEM plugs that I plan on putting in as soon as they get here. At this point, should I be worried about a possible valve issue or do you think having the correct plugs will change anything? If I do end up having someone check the valves to see if the guides have dropped, what is the price range I’m looking at for such a thing?

  • david says:

    4th gear was going gggggsssshhhh when shifting in, would not stay in gear trying to spit our 3rd like kicking back the shift lever but would go in third and stay with no grind. 2003 outback 5 spd. I found worn synchro on 4th so replaced the gear set and new synchro on third, and found a busted bearing ( one ball dissolved and bearing loose on input shaft) New bearings on input shaft, gear set above mentioned, seals and in the garage all gears engaged and when letting the clutch up a bit did not slip out all gears. Road tested good through 4th several times, but 5th gggggssssshhhh. Also in the garage on return same test and 5th gggggssssshhhhh.The synchros have space and not worn out, gears OK, I suspect something to do with the slider stopper thing that stops reverse and keeps the ring on the shaft. Could it be hanging up in the fork someway and causing 5th gear problem?

    • Martin Hand says:

      I’m not sure by your explanation but I have seen problems with fifth gear when re-building these transmissions. Check to make sure fifth gear is not binding on the shaft and that everything turns freely this is usually what the problem is.

  • Dale says:

    My 17yo son shifted my 2001 subaru outback sedan from drive to reverse while moving forward under power at about 30 mph. Now have no forward or reverse gears. I was in the car at the time. There was no nasty sounds just a wheel chirp and then a free reving engine.

    I’m wondering if there are obvious things to look for before I have it towed to a shop for evaluation Thanx for your generous reply

  • John Sgroi says:

    My 2013 Outback 2.5 CVT auto started running poorly in March. CEL came on, and the code said the cat was bad. Had cat replaced. After cat replacement, car was running better but noticed oil consumption that was not there before (approx. 1qt/600mi). By July the car was down on power again and the shop said the new cat needed to be replaced as well. Had 121k when this started and 127k now. Why would it start consuming oil so suddenly? No smoke and no leaks. If it was burning oil would it show on the spark plugs? Would a new cat fail that quickly at that oil consumption rate if it was going through the cat? Thank you!

  • Kitt says:

    I have a 2011 Chevy Cruz Echo. Is that an interference or noninterference engine(timing
    Thank you for any advice that you may have.


    • Martin Hand says:

      Timing chain driven engine so information not available. This is dual overhead cam engine, most likely interference engine. Interference engine information is only available to timing belt driven engines.

  • Alan says:

    I have an 2003 Toyota Corolla type s. I wanted to know if it was an non- interference or interference motor thank you.

  • Lorie says:

    Hello, I have a 2015 Subaru Outback with 36k miles on it. My friend just had to have a transmission replaced in her 2014 Impreza at 80k miles. She said there is a problem with the Subaru transmissions. My powertrain warranty only goes to 60k miles so I am very concerned. Is this a problem with all Subaru transmissions of certain years? I could get a newer one if the problem was resolved in a certain year. Any information you have this would be appreciated.

    • Martin Hand says:

      They are still too new for me to know for sure. Are you referring to the CVT transmission? I would stay away from the CVT transmission until they have been out for longer. CVT transmissions have been used for years in off road vehicles but it’s a fairly new technology for on road vehicles.

  • Zachary says:

    When replacing a Subaru timing belt, I noticed you used channel locks to hold the crankshaft pulley still. The holes around the bolt perfectly hold a few 3/8 in extensions to give you leverage to turn the bolt. Just an Idea.

    • Martin Hand says:

      I don’t use channel locks anymore I have all the specialty tools (two different ones for crankshaft) but the article is to help people that do not have the tools. I learned to do it this way a long time ago before I had all the correct tools. Thanks for the idea

  • Doug Horning says:

    My ’07 Forester 2.5 (non turbo) has 105k mi & has leaked oil since 61k. Now that’s about 1/2 qt. every 10 days.

    Subaru Oakland has quoted me $4.5k for headgaskets & valve cover gasket replacement, timing & drive belts water pumo & oil change.

    An Indy shop said I’d still leak oil after all this from the pistons/rings. And furthermore said betw. 125 -150 k I’d have to spend up to 7k on a new transmission. “That’s standard for the Forester, typical lifespan, typical wear & tear on a well maintained Subu trans.

    Do you agree with this transmission assessment?

    If so, would 4.5k engine work +7k trans be worth it?

    If you say yes it would, who can do the piston/ring work (with an additional approx$1.7k charge over & above the amts. I’ve cited above), in the WAY that your shop does such work, in the SF Bay Area?

    • Martin Hand says:

      I see the transmissions go over 200k all the time without problem. MT or AT transmission either way they are usually not problematic every Subaru is different so you never know.

  • Michael says:

    I own a subaru forestor crosssport sg 5.current mileage is 192k. Since i bought it has been showing low level oil from the dipstick when checked at petrol stations. Initially they would top up but during service the oil level was high when drained…about 5 to 6 litres so my mechanic recommended i do not top up. Recently during service only 1 litre of oil drained from the engine that got me worried. My mechanic recommends an overhaul of the engine and replacement of the piston rings and seals. Kindly advice

    • Martin Hand says:

      Your almost at 200k so I would install a new short block and have the cylinder heads rebuilt. You can go the other route but the crankshaft has a lot of miles on it and it’s probably pretty loose.

  • Mike says:

    Hi. My 1.6 polo vivo pings for about 1 second after changing gears. This is if i change below 3800rpm even on a straight. Also if I rev it in neutral it pings for 1 second.

  • Ernie says:

    I’m purchasing a used car for my son and found a 2005 Outback with 85k miles. The seller is seeking 7k. I plan to ask my mechanic to inspect it but wonder if there are any chronic issues with this year and model I should ask my mechanic to carefully inspect carefully? The body and interior look good. Generally speaking, is 7k a fair price for a 2095 Outback with 85k miles? Thanks you in advance for your help!

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